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No dramas between Farrell and Brits

Owen Farrell insists there are "no dramas" between him and his Saracens colleague Schalk Brits after their Hong Kong Stadium bust-up.

Brits will serve a three-week ban at the start of next season following his citing for striking Farrell during Saturday's clash between the Barbarians and British and Irish Lions. Referee Steve Walsh initially penalised Farrell for reacting to Brits' indiscretion, but he reversed the decision - and yellow-carded Brits - on viewing big-screen television replays.

Baa-Baas hooker Brits appeared at an International Rugby Board disciplinary hearing on Sunday, where judicial officer Steve Lewis imposed the sanction. Reflecting on the first-half incident, Lions fly-half Farrell said: "Things happen in rugby. I was trying to hold him into a ruck, and he reacted to that. It all happens in rugby. There's no dramas there."

He added: "When someone reacts to you, you try not to take a backward step, not just in this occasion but in every occasion. I just grabbed him. There was nothing nasty in it. It is a reminder of how vital it is to keep cool and not respond to provocation.

"These are big games, every game for the Lions is massive, and to lose someone to the bin would be massive. You can't afford to do that - everyone has to be disciplined. I shook Schalk's hand after the game, and he apologised when he came back on to the field."

Farrell kicked 15 points in the Lions' 59-8 triumph, but he admitted the hot and humid conditions had a major effect on proceedings.

"It was tough to handle the ball out there," he added.

"It felt fine during the warm-up when everything was dry, but as soon as your shirt got wet and peoples' hands were wet passing the ball, which was soaking, you might have been playing in torrential rain as far as the ball was concerned.

"I have never played in humidity like that. It was tough, but it wasn't unbearable. I know that you are going to have to get your recovery right now. Some people will have to back up for the next game, so that's important."

That next fixture - against Western Force in Perth on Wednesday - could see tour captain Sam Warburton make his first playing contribution on the 10-match trip. Wales flanker Warburton missed the Baa-Baas encounter as a precaution, resting a knee injury, with Ireland lock Paul O'Connell taking over as skipper.


From Belfast Telegraph